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when the table turns: sink or swim...

by Judy
April 14, 2014

After reading my last essay, “Too Sweet…Too Salty,” my cousin Matty wrote to me, “I am speechless…where do you get your strength and positive outlook from?” Her question stimulated my inquiry.

Where does this positivity come from in relationship to caregiving and watching my mom fade away and not always happily fade away? I remember my mom used to say, “Either we are going to sink or swim” in this life and she chose to swim... and she swam with vigor. Well, I want to go even beyond swimming…perhaps even...

where do we go from here? Essay by Andrea Hurley

By Andrea
April 10, 2014

Judy and I have been writing this blog for over a year and a half. Along the way, I have hit junctures where certain questions arise: Where do we go from here? Are we on track? What is our track anyway?

I am in one of those junctures again now, asking, what next? Judy and I have written almost 100 essayspublished our first e-Book [PDF], and have had a ...

when the table turns

by Judy
March  31, 2014

Some days it’s just harder…lately my mom who had been such a voracious eater all her life, thoroughly enjoying food, has grown more and more disinterested. It has happened gradually since she had a stroke. Since then her smelling and tasting senses have diminished considerably and she hardly opens her eyes to see what she is eating. All this combined with not having much appetite – she doesn’t move a lot – has led to an increased lack of interest. My mother has always loved bread (she used to say it was her nemesis) and especially bagels and now...

selfish, i know: an essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
March 24, 2014

Recently when I was leaving my mother’s place, an assisted living community in the Boston area, I ran into T, the van driver for the residents. A kind and engaging man whom everyone loves, T is incredibly fond of my mother and always asks about her. This time he told me how much I look like her. Even though few others say this to me, I appreciate that he sees a similarity between us—something I’ll have with me forever. He then asked about her age, her memory and her health. We chatted about these things for a few minutes, about my mother’s recent...

Love

by Judy
March 17, 2014

A few days ago I had a dream right before I woke up. I was in a hotel with many of my friends as well as many of my possessions. As I packed up my bags to leave, I found that my clothes and “things” kept being stolen. In the dream, I would catch the thieves and they would put everything back, but quickly afterwards everything would be stolen again. I woke up thinking: “I don’t care about my possessions; the only thing that matters is love.”

Now I was aware when this happened that this is a very common understanding expressed again and...

by Judy
March 3, 2014

Sitting on my mom’s terrace has endless significance for me. This is the terrace where my mother did all her painting for years. She would often tell me she could not sleep when working on a picture and would come out on the terrace in the middle of the night to paint. It’s also where she kept the majority of her plants that she so lovingly took care of for many years. After she was hospitalized with a restricted aortic valve, she started to live with Pat, a professional caregiver. Pat and my mom would often sit on the terrace for hours in the...

a toast to life and to love: a post by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
February 23, 2014

Every year on my mother’s birthday an ever growing family comes together to celebrate. Rarely does anyone miss this event, especially as my mother has become elderly. This celebration becomes more poignant every year, both because of the significance of a life on this planet for almost 100 years, and also because of an undercurrent of tension in all of our hearts, a question that goes unspoken: will this be the last? 

As I write these unspoken words, part of me wants to hit the back key, and erase that question from this post. As if erasing it...

loss:when the table turns

by Judy
February 17, 2014

Recently I was speaking with a friend who lost her mother a year ago. She said her experience of losing her mom was very different from what she expected. Even though she had reflected upon what it would be like, she said that we cannot really know until it actually happens. It took her by surprise. She spoke very eloquently about her experience expressing a sense that a big chunk of her life, a reference point, that she wasn’t even aware was there, had gone and she was left with a much greater sense of being alone. As I listened to her -...

surrender and humility: blog post by Andrea Hurley, When the Table Turns

by Andrea
January 21, 2014

I was speaking with a close friend the other day. She had recently hurt her back and was in a lot of pain, but rather than complaining about the pain, she spoke about gratitude. This struck me. She was not only grateful that her back was showing signs of relief, but she was expressing gratitude for the years remaining in which her body would be healthy and pain free. She said that when the time comes that her body will begin to age and will lose strength and vitality, it will require surrender and humility. Surrender and humilityher...

by Judy
January 20, 2014

I woke up very early the other morning a bit stunned. I’m sure everyone has had that experience of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling disoriented and insecure. It’s quite a raw feeling when one feels up against the reality of life and death. In that state of mind, I started to think about impermanence and how really everything is truly changing all the time. I had the image of being an island out at sea. This island has a basic solid ground, but it’s also always moving, coming upon and viewing new landscapes. Particularly because...

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